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Funny And Not So Funny Things That Happened At The Court Of Louis XIV, Part Four – Party like 1660

Funny And Not So Funny Things That Happened At The Court Of Louis XIV, Part Four

Madame de Saint-Herem, the one with the thunderstorms, was bathing in the river at Fontainebleau, but because the water was rather cold, she had a quantity boiled on the bank and poured round her in mid-stream, with the result that she was badly scalded, and had to take to her bed for some time.

Monsieur La Chatre, would suddenly imagine himself to be surrounded by enemies and act accordingly. One of his earliest fits came upon him when he happened to be alone with the Prince de Conti, who was confined to his room with gout and unable to set a foot on the ground. In the middle of their conversation La Chatre gave a sudden cry and leapt to his feet, then drew his sword and began to attack the chairs and screens, while shouting ‘There they are! Help! ‘. The Prince, who was too far from the bell to ring for assistance and unable to arm himself even with a poker, expected momentarily to be run through with a sword and spent what he later admitted to have been the “most anxious and exciting quarter of an hour of his life” in utter helplessness. At last somebody came, and La Chatre was brought to reason. In spite of this escapade, La Chatre was left at large and later, in a similar fit, tried to leap on the stage at Versailles to spit at the actors. He was not put under any restraint, but his relatives were warned to keep him under observation and his acquaintances warned to avoid being alone in one room with him.

The servant-beating Princesse d’Harcourt, continued to treat her servants badly even after she was beaten up by one of them. They did not repeat the attack on her, but found other ways for revenge. Twice the Princesse found herself stranded in the middle of Paris through the wholesale desertion of her attendants. On one occasion her carriage stopped suddenly in the middle of Pont-Neuf. The coachman and lackeys got down from the box, her maid and ecuyer opened the carriage-door and stepped out. All went off laughing and left the Princess to herself. On another occasion Madame de Saint-Simon found her wandering through the streets of Paris, alone again, and in full court-dress, after a similar experience. It is not surprising to hear that she changed her servants nearly every day.

The haughty Mademoiselle de Choiseul, once maid of honour to the Duchesse du Maine, married a gardener named Grandcolas, who had saved her from drowning. She tried very hard to get her husband ennobled, but in vain, and had to remain plain Madame Grandcolas.

Madame d’Heudicourt was terribly afraid of ghosts, or rather that those could pay her a visit. She made her servants sit up with her every night, and nearly died of fright when a favourite parrot, which she had had for twenty years, was gathered to its fathers. Madame d’Heudicourt was so scared the ghost of her pet parrot could visit her at night, she redoubled her guards and hardly slept for days. The guards seem to have done the trick, for the parrot did not visit Madame d’Heudicourt.

Part five